“We learned pretty early on in this band that you can't have snobbery in music.” Linkin Park emcee Mike Shinoda
Grammy winning band Linkin Park, whose members are Chester Bennington (vocalist), Brad Delson (guitarist), Mike Shinoda (emcee), Joe Hahn (DJ/electronic specialist), Rob Bourdon (drummer) and David "Phoenix" Farrell (bassist), broke into the music scene in 2000 with their 10 times platinum debut album "Hybrid Theory," which spawned the four singles, "Papercut," "In The End," “One Step Closer," and "Crawling." The six-piece group from Agoura Hills, California, later released two more studio albums, the 4 times platinum "Meteora" (2003), which yielded the hit singles "Somewhere I Belong," "Faint," "Numb," "From the Inside," "Lying from You" and "Breaking the Habit," and the two times platinum "Minutes to Midnight" (2007), which spun off the singles "What I've Done," "Bleed It Out," "Shadow of the Day" and "Given Up."
The band also released a remix album titled "Reanimation" (2002), a live album named "Live in Texas" (2003), and a mash-up album called "Collision Course," alongside rap mogul Jay-Z, which won them Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the Grammy Awards in 2006 (for their collaboration on "Numb/Encore"). Their songs were also featured in such films as "Dracula 2000" (2000), "The Matrix Reloaded" (2003), "S.W.A.T." (2003), "Riding Giants" (2004), "Miami Vice" (2006) and "Transformers" (2007).
Childhood and Family:
In 1996, after graduating from Agoura High School, in California, guitarist Brad Delson (born December 1, 1977) and MC/vocalist Mike Shinoda (born February 11, 1977) formed a rapcore/nu metal band called SuperXero, which was revised to Xero. They were joined by drummer Rob Bourdon (born January 20, 1979) and DJ Joseph Hahn (born March 15, 1977), whom Shinoda met while studying illustration at Art Center College in Pasadena, and bassist David "Phoenix" Farrell (born February 8, 1977), with whom Delson shared an apartment with while attending UCLA. Mark Wakefield would round up the group as the vocalist.
In Shinoda's bedroom, the new band began recording demo tapes, which included the songs "Fuse," "Reading My Eyes," "Stick N' Move" and "Rhinestone." Despite their hard work, they couldn't score a recording deal, which resulted in tensions and frustration within the band. Wakefield subsequently left the group to become the manager for Michigan alternative metal group Taproot and Farrell would also leave the band to tour with a Christian punk band known as the Tasty Snax and other bands. He eventually returned a year later.
Wakefield was replaced by former Grey Daze lead vocalist Chester Bennington (born in Arizona on March 20, 1976), who proved to be a perfect fit for the band with his high-pitched vocals and frenetic energy. Together, they made the “Hybrid Theory EP” under the band name Hybrid Theory. Bennington suggested the band change its name to Lincoln Park, after a public park he regularly passed in Santa Monica. But when they discovered the domain name www.lincolnpark.com was already taken, they simply adjusted the spelling to "Linkin Park."
Breaking The Habit
With their new name, Linkin Park still found it difficult to land a recording contract. They were, however, a regular act at the Los Angeles' famed rock showcase spot, The Whisky, throughout 1999. After numerous rejections from several major record labels, they eventually were signed to Warner Bros. Records.
On October 24, 2000, Linkin Park released their debut album, "Hybrid Theory," which spawned four singles, "Papercut," "In The End," “One Step Closer," and "Crawling," the latter three of which helped catapult the band into mainstream popularity. Recorded at NRG Recordings in North Hollywood, California, and produced by Don Gilmore, the album was a commercial success, topping at #2 on the U.S. Billboard 200. The album, which received 10 times platinum certification, also received a Best Rock Album nomination at the 2002 Grammy Awards.
Meanwhile, single "Crawling" won a Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance and the band collected a World Music Award for World's Best Selling Rock Group, as well as won two MTV Europe Music Awards for Best Hard Rock Act and Best Group. Additionally, their video for "In The End" won a MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video. The success of the album brought the band to Ozzfest and a tour, Projekt Revolution. They performed a staggering 324 live shows during that year.
Afterward, Linkin Park reissued "Hybrid Theory EP (Underground v1.0)" on November 19, 2001, which was produced by Shinoda under the Machine Shop Recordings label, and issued "LP Underground 2.0 EP" on November 18, 2002, which was produced by Don Gilmore and Linkin Park members. They also released a remix album titled "Reanimation" on July 30, 2002, which features heavy and rap remixed songs from the Hybrid Theory album as well as previous LP material.
On March 25, 2003, Linkin Park released their second studio album, "Meteora," after the Meteora rock formation in Greece. It yielded six singles: "Somewhere I Belong" (March 17, 2003), "Faint" (June 9, 2003), "Numb" (September 8, 2003), "From the Inside" (January 12, 2004), "Lying from You" (April 2004) and "Breaking the Habit" (June 14, 2004). The band's shortest studio album, "Meteora" became the most successful album in the history of the Modern Rock Tracks chart. The album also became the best selling rock album of 2003 and was certified four times platinum for selling 5.5 million copies in the U.S. alone, and nearly 12 million copies worldwide.
"Each song is about looking within and letting out emotions." Mike Shinoda on songs in album "Meteora"
Linkin Park's instrumental song "Session" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 2003. They also won a World Music Award for Best Rock Group and an American Music Award for Favorite Alternative Artist. They would spend 2004 on the road performing in their Meteora World Tour and being part of Projekt Revolution. During this time, the band won an American Music Award for Favorite Alternative Artist, a MTV Europe Award for Best Rock Act, and their video for "Breaking The Habit" won a MTV Video Music Award for Viewer's Choice
“I think the new album will definitely have some softer, piano based songs.” drummer Rob Bourdon on the album "Meteora"
Next, Linkin Park embarked on a tour and worked on side projects. Bennington appeared on DJ Lethal’s “State of the Art” and with the band “Dead By Sunrise.” Shinoda also worked with British electronic music group Depeche Mode and formed a new band, Fort Minor. Linkin Park has their own record company called "Machine Shop Records," the main record label for Fort Minor's critically acclaimed debut album, "The Rising Tied."
Linkin Park also took part in a number of charitable events and helped raise money to benefit victims of Hurricane Charley in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They donated $75,000 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation in March of 2004 and staged some charity concerts and set up an additional fund called "Music for Relief" to help relief efforts for the 2004 Tsunami victims. They also participated at Live 8, a series of charitable benefit concerts set up to raise global awareness.
Linkin Park released their first live album, "Live in Texas," on November 18, 2003, which featured their performance at the Summer Sanitarium Tour in 2003 where they shared the stage with metal luminaries Metallica. They also released a mash-up album called "Collision Course," alongside rap mogul Jay-Z, which included the collaboration/remix of 7 Linkin Park songs ("Lying from You," "Papercut," "Faint," "Numb," "In the End," "Points of Authority," and "One Step Closer") and 6 Jay-Z songs ("Dirt off Your Shoulder," "Big Pimpin'," "Jigga What, Jigga Who," "Encore," "Izzo (H.O.V.A.)" and "99 Problems"). Released on November 30, 2004, "Collision Course" went to #1 on the Billboard 200, becoming a hit album for both Jay-Z and Linkin Park. Their collaboration on "Numb/Encore" later won Best Rap/Song Collaboration at the Grammy Awards of 2006.
Meanwhile, Linkin Park also released "LP Underground 3.0 EP" (2003), a five-track EP that contains enhanced content, "LP Underground 4.0 EP" (2004), which contains 20 tracks including the 4.0 EP, Jay-Z/Linkin Park live tracks from the "Collision Course" EP and other Linkin Park live tracks. "LP Underground 5.0 EP" (2005) features live tracks from the band's performance during Live 8 Philadelphia on July 2 2005, with Jay-Z, and "LP Underground 6.0 EP" (2006), a six-track EP, includes a studio demo version of "QWERTY."
"When songs are pouring out you don't ever want to stop that. We already have over 100 roughs for songs. We've narrowed it down since but we're not ready to commit to those yet." Mike Shinoda (on the delays of the release of Linkin Park's third studio album "Minutes to Midnight" (2007)
After being delayed several times (first scheduled for summer 2006, then fall 2006, then early 2007), "Minutes to Midnight," Linkin Park's third studio album, eventually hit the music stores in May 2007. It debuted at #1 in the United States and had the biggest first week sales of 2007 with 625,000 albums sold. Tagged with a parental advisory label, "Minutes to Midnight" sold remarkably well in the space of a few months and has been certified 2× Platinum in the United States. The album that spun off the singles "What I've Done" (April 2, 2007), "Bleed It Out" (August 20, 2007), "Shadow of the Day" (October 16, 2007) and "Given Up" (March 3, 2008), ranked #25 on Rolling Stone's list of the “Top 50 Albums of 2007.”
About the album, guitarist Brad Delson revealed, "This was a year-and-a-half long process of really hard work and experimentation in the studio that yielded about 150 rough songs. Not only is this album incredibly diverse, but the depth of the material is really strong."
As for the music direction of "Minutes to Midnight," lead vocalist Chester Bennington explained, “We're straying away from a lot of the predictable sounds we've had in the past, but there's no question in your mind when you hear it that it's Linkin Park. We've always said we write the music we write so that we can spread our wings as far as we want and try new things and go anywhere. I think we're really going to prove that with this new record.”
Linkin Park subsequently completed a 16-show tour across the U.S. and Canada on March 10, 2008. They also have completed touring on their fourth Projekt Revolution tour along with My Chemical Romance, Julien-K, HIM, and Taking Back Sunday and an Arena tour around the United Kingdom that finished on a double night at the O2 Arena in London. Additionally, they have performed in a string of live shows, including Live Earth Japan on July 7, 2007.
Fans can also hear Linkin Park songs in such films as "Dracula 2000" (2000), "The Matrix Reloaded" (2003), "S.W.A.T." (2003), "Riding Giants" (2004), "Miami Vice" (2006) and "Transformers" (2007).
Grammy: Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, "Numb/Encore," 2006 (shared with Jay-Z)
American Music: Favorite Alternative Artist, 2004
MTV Europe: Best Rock Act, 2004
MTV Video Music: Viewer's Choice, "Breaking The Habit," 2004
World Music: Best Rock Group, 2003
American Music: Favorite Alternative Artist, 2003
Grammy: Best Hard Rock Performance, "Crawling," 2002
World Music: World's Best Selling Rock Group, 2002
MTV Europe Music: Best Hard Rock Act, 2002
MTV Europe Music: Best Group, 2002
MTV Video Music: Best Rock Video, "In The End," 2002